Arbitration ... needs more Arbitrators and clear Rules / Guidelines what to expect

I’ve done some trading on Bisq recently. When both seller and buyer cooperate properly it’s good and I’d be happy to use Bisq… probably even prefer to use it over centralized exchanges.

However I have had one trade where the seller in an altcoin trade (I sold XMR for BTC) took 3 days to release my funds.

So I had to send the XMR (outside of Bisq) and then the seller of the BTC needed to confirm that she/he received the XMR. It’s that confirmation that took the seller 3 days (the XMR arrived in minutes of course) and the arbitrator provided me with no assistance whatsoever, other than “we’ll wait until the seller confirms”. It’s this part that I find most troubling, especially as I provided full, verifiable proof that I sent the XMR.

All in all, I’d say Bisq is promising but the arbitration system / arbitrators are a let down for now.

PS: I would not have been upset with a wait of up to 24 hours… but 3 days for crypto to crypto trade is excessive, and the fact that I got NO support from the arbitrator is what makes me not use Bisq again for now.

For reference:
Offer ID: jbcrss-0d2a4877-56f3-44d9-8415-006b9a2c1f41-063
Contract Hash: e64e674c2c9856a01499c7ccc4d85dcb901da45846b189dc3fe6db6ca7bc3447
Arbitrator: 3b7cft5k4ae6a236.onion:9999

Bisq will have more arbitrators in the future of course. That is why DAO has such a huge priority in Bisq development. When DAO is fully released, anyone will be able to become arbitrator safely.

As for the wait, I am sorry you had to wait. Arbitration procedure does take more time and arbitrators find it important to hear both sides, before any decision is made. Although you apparently provided proof of payment, I guess arbitrator still needed to decide what to do with the security deposit of the seller and get to the bottom of the issue. Bisq is mostly used for slower trades, but focuses on privacy, security and censorship resistance. Centralized exchanges will always be faster.

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I’ve traded on other exchanges such as Local Bitcoins and Paxful and arbitration was quite clear cut with those. No response from counter-party and full, verifiable proof of payment from me alsow got the arbitrators to rule in my favour.

When I go into a contract I do so with the expectation that if the other party isn’t holding up their end in a timely fashion I will get assistance through the arbitration system.

At least in this case the arbitrator wasn’t prepared to do his/her job!

As I said, this is enough for me to stop using Bisq until properly addressed.

It isn’t quite the same in a decentralized exchange as you have security deposits to manage as well and arbitrators want to hear the other party out before they take their deposits. Better safe than sorry in this case, as if the security deposit is wrongly taken, there isn’t anything Bisq can do to take it back.

As I understand, you did get assistance, you just didn’t like the delay, which is understandable, but that is the procedure and I am not sure that it would make a lot of sense if arbitrators didn’t wait for the other party to respond for a reasonable amount of time.

I disagree with your assertion that I got assistance.

I definitely feel I DIDN’T get assistance. This trade was only resolved when the other party confirmed the payment three days later. The only type of “assistance” I got from the arbitrator was to say that I’ll have to wait until the other party is ready / willing to release funds.

If the other party wasn’t ready / willing to complete the trade in a timely manner, that is on them. I as a counterparty without any PRIOR knowledge of that shouldn’t be unduly affected by that.

Also, the arbitrator could have easily conveyed all the info I provided for verifiable proof of payment to the other party, asked them to verify and release funds in a reasonable amount of time (which is NOT 3 days). At the same time notifying them that if they can’t/aren’t willing to do so in that reasonable amount of time (maybe 12 hours or so?) the arbitrator would rule in my favor (in this case). This would allow the other party to keep their security deposit if they act on the arbitrators message.

As I said before, to me it felt like the arbitrator wasn’t doing his/her job and just rolled over for the other party.

Arbitrators need to fair but also TOUGH …

Also, it certainly didn’t help that during the arbitration I couldn’t see the other party’s messages but only go back and forth with the arbitrator… in my case I felt like I was being ignored after the first couple of messages from the arbitrator.

Crypto is new to lots of noobs. Bisq is New. Xmr is not as easy as Bitcoin. Maybe it took 3 days for the peer to confirm, waiting to sync the chain who knows. Arbitrator did nothing wrong, so you waited big deal. We need more people using this, not penalizing them because you have unrealistic expectations on a world wide decentralised exchange that people need to manually confirm. You don’t need to be a genius to realise why it can take some time to complete trades…and bisq has no notifications yet. Not everyone is in front of the computer all day.

It may be possible to rate peers by their response times and have this as another metric before people accept a trade if it’s a ‘slow’ user - not talking days, yes that’s not acceptable if it keeps happening.

Hopefully cryptocurrency/btc trades will be sped up at a future time, by monitoring the blockchain for deposit, although for xmr that might be some difficulty haha

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@shrike your message makes me sound like I was impatient… I don’t feel that’s true.

Trade contract was for 24 hours… Even though I sent the XMR within 30 minutes of the trade being opened, I did not complain about waiting the initial 23 hours… Also I didn’t even open the arbitration request… I also agreed to wait another 12 hours after the trade contract window expired… So really I think I have shown REASONABLE patience…

Also you say “We need more people using this” … this extended wait and basically no assistance from arbitrator certainly has not given me the confidence to continue using Bisq at this time…

As I said in my initial message, when all goes well Bisq is a tool I’d be happy to use. Unfortunately when things don’t go as planned and you depend on the arbitration system, my experience hasn’t been as rosy.

I accept that maybe I am expecting too much from Bisq… But Bisq is working with peoples money and I do expect a robust dispute resolution system.

I still feel the dispute resolution didn’t take my needs into account and that is exactly why I won’t be using Bisq for the time being.

Also, you might feel I am attacking the particular arbitrator… I can see how it might read like that.
However my main reasons for posting here is because the arbitrator basically asked me to post here and to be honest, only having two arbitrators system-wide is letting down Bisq.

I feel the arbitration system maybe but definitely the number of arbitrators needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Additionally to support all arbitrators (and traders) I think it is also important to thoroughly document how arbitration will be carried out.

Hi @xmrtrader, Bisq co-founder and arbitrator here, though not the arbitrator you were working with on the trade in question.

I haven’t reviewed all of the comments above in detail, but I want to say a couple things:

  1. I’m sorry for any undue delay you experienced with this trade. The standard we hold ourselves to as arbitrators is that we check on and stay in contact with traders at least every 24 hours. Sometimes, of course, chat messages can be much more frequent than that, and sometimes, while a case is in a “wait state” where everyone involved understands that it may take a couple days for something to occur (e.g. a bank transfer to complete), then an arbitrator may not say anything during that period. But if there is an open question—and certainly if there is an open complaint!—from a trader, the standard for arbitration service is that we get back to that trader in no more than 24 hours.

  2. It sounds like your negative experience has been confined to this one arbitration case, and it sounds like you really would like to continue using Bisq, but are concerned that this sort of thing will happen again. Are you aware that you can select which arbitrators you are willing to accept? You can find these settings in Account->Arbitrator Selection, and you can uncheck the onion address of whichever arbitrator(s) you’re dissatisfied with.

Hope this helps, and thanks for the constructive feedback. Best regards.

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It is hard to determine what is fair amount of time to wait for the other peer to respond. There is also a risk that some kind of bug happened, for example with the Tor network that recently experienced a lot of traffic and unreliable connections. Some users seem to have speed as a priority, some fairness. Bisq is really not that fast and it can’t be as fast as centralized exchanges, but it provides high security, privacy and reliability. Imagine that you started a trade and something went wrong, there was a bug, you had to go to sleep and then early in the morning you had to go to work. You can see that 12 hours wouldn’t enough for many people.

Maybe there is some kind of way to mark certain trades as very fast and make arbitrators act quickly on those, but that would require some development work.

I am sorry that you felt misguided, but Bisq trades, although can be fast a lot of times, generally take quite some time, especially in case of a arbitration. We all agree that we need more arbitrators and that is very well being worked on with the DAO, but this is just how Bisq always worked, it never was optimal for making guaranteed fast trades :slight_smile:

Either way, thank you for your feedback. I am sure that we will all keep this in mind :slight_smile:

Thanks @cbeams and @alexej996
I’ll continue to follow Bisq and may try it out again in the future… Looking forward to your DAO project to bear fruits and the opening of Bisq to many more arbitrators.


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